Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Downs v. Radentz

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 11, 2019

Thomas K. Downs and Laura H. Downs, Appellants-Defendants,
v.
Stephen S. Radentz and Magdalena B. Czader, Appellees-Plaintiffs.

          Appeal from the Boone Superior Court The Honorable Matthew C. Kincaid, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 06D01-1711-PL-1443.

          Attorneys for Appellants Daniel L. Taylor J. Kent Minnette Taylor, Chadd, Minnette, Schneider & Clutter, P.C. Crawfordsville, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellees E. Scott Treadway Raymond J. Biederman Mattingly Burke Cohen & Biederman LLP Indianapolis, Indiana

          Najam, Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Thomas and Laura Downs (collectively "Sellers") appeal the trial court's judgment in favor of Stephen Radentz and Magdalena Czader (collectively "Buyers") on Buyers' complaint seeking specific performance of the parties' agreement for the sale of real estate. Sellers present two issues for our review:

1. Whether the trial court erred when it applied the parol evidence rule and excluded certain evidence at trial.
2. Whether the trial court's finding that the parties entered into a valid and enforceable settlement agreement is clearly erroneous.

         [¶2] Buyers cross appeal and ask that we award them appellate attorney's fees.

         [¶3] We affirm and remand with instructions.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶4] On September 5, 2017, Sellers listed for sale their residence located on ten acres in Zionsville ("the property"). On September 18, Buyers made an offer to purchase the property. After the parties proposed offers and counter-offers, they agreed on a purchase price of $1.2 million and executed a purchase agreement. However, following disagreements regarding inspections and appraisals, on November 27, Buyers filed with the trial court a complaint for specific performance. Over the course of the next several months, the parties negotiated a settlement agreement, which Sellers executed on August 12, 2018.

         [¶5] The settlement agreement incorporated by reference the parties' purchase agreement, which required in relevant part that Sellers provide a survey "certified as of a current date" and that was "reasonably satisfactory to Buyer." Appellees' App. Vol. 2 at 45. On August 16, before Buyers had executed the settlement agreement, Sellers' attorney sent Buyers' attorney a letter stating in relevant part as follows: "Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, please find enclosed the original Anderson and Associates survey of the [property from 1996] along with a copy of the original title policy." Defendants' Ex. C (emphasis added).

         [¶6] In response to that letter, Buyers informed Sellers that the 1996 survey was not acceptable and did not comply with the terms of the purchase agreement. On August 20, after Sellers had refused to provide a different survey, Buyers' attorney sent an email to Sellers' attorney's office stating:

My client[s] are precariously close to walking away from the settlement. We expect a current survey of the property. The documents provided were decades old and of little value to us or the title company.
Please advise by the close of business today whether we can expect a current survey. Otherwise, let's move forward with the litigation.

         Defendants' Ex. D. In particular, Buyers requested a current "ALTA"[1] survey of the property. Tr. at 98.

[¶7] Despite not having received a current survey of the property, Buyers executed the settlement agreement on August 30. Still, Sellers refused to permit Buyers access to the property to perform inspections or appraisals. On September 30, Buyers filed with the trial court a motion to enforce the settlement agreement. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court entered judgment for Buyers and found and concluded as follows:

3. [Buyers] substantially performed or offered to perform their contract obligations in relation to the Purchase Agreement. The undisputed testimony from [Radentz], Barbara Ward, broker for [Buyers], and Robbin Edwards, broker for [Sellers], was that the [Buyers] fulfilled all conditions precedent under the Purchase Agreement.
4. [Sellers] breached the Purchase Agreement by failing to satisfy the terms of the same.
11. [Buyers] and [Sellers] entered into a written Settlement and Release Agreement, dated August 30, 2018 (the "Settlement Agreement"). . . .
12. The Settlement Agreement was executed by [Sellers] on August 12, 2018, and executed by [Buyers] on August 30, 2018.
13. [Sellers] each testified, and the Court finds, that [Sellers] knowingly and voluntarily executed the Settlement Agreement.
14. [Sellers] each testified, and the Court finds, that [Sellers] were represented by legal counsel during the negotiation and preparation of the Settlement Agreement.
15. [Sellers] each testified, and the Court finds, that [Sellers] intended to be bound by the terms and conditions of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.